Possessing an ice-cool nerve helped Bridge United A get their season off to a perfect start by claiming all three Premier Division points.
Penalties proved decisive as the men from Goresbridge profited from a pair of spot-kicks, Darren Foley hitting the net from 12 yards twice in eight minutes, to derail Evergreen B on Friday.
The hosts may have been hoping for a solid start but were left stunned as Evergreen roared into action, taking the lead with 103 seconds on the clock. Ronan Holohan’s venomous corner was met by the in-rushing Sammy Johnston, who found the net with a wicked side-foot strike.
Buoyed by the early opener the city side sparkled in the first half. While the front three of Mikey MacDonald, Mark Owens and Conor Barry attacked at will, Johnston almost created a second goal when his one-two with Mark Owens produced a dangerous cross but Owens’s header flashed just over.
Bridge, however, were no shrinking violets in attack either. Conor English and Sean Murphy were constant threats, giving Evergreen a few scares as they bombarded down the flanks. Philip Johnston frustrated the home side with a great double save to deny Eoin Kavanagh and English on 17 minutes, while Michael Brennan’s header flashed over on the half hour.
Evergreen looked to have weathered the storm, but then conceded a penalty in the dying seconds of the half when English was hauled back in the box. Darren Foley made no mistake, drilling the ball into the bottom right corner.
The second half started badly for Evergreen. Within eight minutes they lost full-back Tim Brennan to injury (a loss that forced the reshuffle and took away their momentum) then gave away a second penalty for another foul on English.
Again Foley stepped up to score, going to the right once more to make it 2-1. It was a lead they wouldn’t lose.
Bridge United A: Mahony, Hennessy, Kelly, Huff, Barcoe, Bolger, Conor English, Brennan, Murphy, Kavanagh (Cathal English, 69 mins), Foley.
Evergreen B: P. Johnston, Brennan (Delaney, 51 mins), O’Neill (Gohery, 65 mins), Kealy, Galvin, Cashin, S. Johnston, Holohan, MacDonald, Owens, Barry (Connolly, 82 mins).